I tend to SOMEWHAT agree with you John! But 10 questions?
…I don't know about that, sounds like a bit of Hyperbole?
What we DO KNOW, is that THIS matching barrel/bolt/receiver serial numbered 600 WAS made in Belgium between 1936-1940. What research has led me to believe, the stock is 1940-41 and likewise has a matching serial number to itself of 1599…BUT, of the almost exact timeframe of the action manufacture.
There are the questions regarding the front & rear sights dated 1947 and the 1948 stamp on the receiver base, ….1947 and 1948 being so close, it might be assumed this rifle survived the war staying in Belgium, and "re-manufactured" or at least "reconditioned" for export contract in 1948. I think the "made in late 1948 at the end of the single broach cut and beginning of the double broach cut" is now debunked.
, you were correct in your assessment ("The 7 and 8 in square could indicate 1947 and 1948 and the A in a square for a prewar FN part"). My M1930 has the "A in a square" in addition to the 7 and 8 in the square assumed to be stamped later in this M1930's life. The trigger guard where the "A in a square" is stamped, also has the "S" date code on the rear portion of the trigger guard dating it as "1940". (See attached thumbnail below).
This "A in a square" coincides with Anny Hendriks of Ars Mechanica Foundation's production date of 1936-1940.
Now, it is not too far a leap of assumption, since nobody has been able to definitively say otherwise, that since this rifle was in Belgium at the date of German invasion, it may have been constructed by the Germans from parts found at the factory (hence, the German practice of using a stock take down bolt), put into action and never leaving the country. I say this because the stock and action are of the same time, 1936-1940, prior to invasion of 1940 AND the installation of the German take down bolt sometime after 1940 but obviously before 1945. Yet, it seems to have Belgium trimester stamps dated 1947-48 inferring after the war, the Belgians did "something" to it…the assumption could be as I stated (?) ("re-manufactured" or at least "reconditioned" for export contract in 1948).
I guess it boils down to…Who has a better explanation, or should I say "story".
Still, we have nobody to identify the cartouche?
In my estimation, it certainly defies the "parts gun" theory! I suspected, when I held this gun in my hands, fired her and looked at all the exact fitment (Thank you Martin08!)
it was not a parts gun…unless you concur with my origination story…then yeah, it's a parts gun that the Germans built upon finding it at the factory in 1940! …..It seems to defy this prior assessment, "It cannot, as it stands now, with any certainty be traced to any single buyer, country (was there any doubt of country w/Belgian proofs? or agency. Its many serial numbers (?) (of which it has 2, stock & action!) and cleansed receiver ring (?) mean that it could have been assembled at any time from the Korean War to the Saturday before you bought it"!
The possibility of origination can be many things, this is just my best guess scenario, not carved in stone. If anybody can come up with something more definitive…I'm certainly open to additional speculation. At any rate, it won't be going anywhere and will happily remain in my collection.
Sincerely and with thanks to all who responded to help me date this fine rifle,